How (and Why) to Choose the Best Work Boots for Any Job
When you put your feet up at the end of a long day, you want to feel like you accomplished something. Tired, but satisfied. Ready to do it all again tomorrow.
But a long day in the wrong boots can leave you with a sore back and aching legs by knock-off time – if you make it that far.
Not all work boots are made the same. However, finding the best safety footwear for long days on the job is actually straightforward once you know what you’re looking for.
What difference do boots make?
Whether you’re wearing work boots every day as required PPE or only dusting off your steel caps for the occasional site visit, high-quality footwear has a lot of benefits. Your wellbeing tops the list, closely followed by peace of mind that you’re adequately equipped for whatever comes your way.
Safety footwear in Australia and New Zealand must pass the certification requirements outlined in AS 2210.3, the standard governing PPE on both sides of the ditch.
If your boots aren’t certified, walk away.
You are risking impact and compression injuries or the boots literally falling apart at the seams. Those are the standard tests. In case of additional safety requirements like Anti-Static or Penetration Resistance, you really can’t afford to take any risks.
Read more about safety footwear testing and certification requirements at BSI Benchmark
It might not be age making your knees and back ache. Your safety boots absorb up to twice your bodyweight in force with every step. Properly designed work boots are lightweight and cushioned, reducing fatigue and improving productivity.
Steel Blue is the first safety boot manufacturer to earn Australian Physiotherapy Association endorsement. The APA only supports products that offer clear benefits for physiotherapy patients. With Steel Blue’s commitment on comfort and durability, the APA’s endorsement recognises the technological advancements of our work boots that help protect the wearer from stress-related injuries to the ankles, knees, hips and spine.
You might be leaning towards inferior steel cap boots because they’re cheaper. But if you’re replacing busted boots every couple of months, then the cost equation starts to tip in the wrong direction. Of course, it’s hard to know which pair of brand new boots will last the longest. But keep reading, and we’ll tell you what to look for to ensure your footwear keeps you safe with every wear.
We’ve even gone a step further by engineering a graphene-enhanced safety boot, tough and durable enough for the harshest mining and resources operations.
Choices, choices: Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing new work boots
Always start with the safety features. It bears repeating: if your safety boots aren’t certified to meet AS 2210.3 standards, replace them immediately. Some of the basic requirement for standards testing include:
- Toe protection including impact and compression
- Upper tests including tear and tensile properties
- Soling tests including slip resistance and bond testing
Toe protection (impact resistance) is non-negotiable in most trades. There are a few different protective materials to choose from, steel caps being the most common. However, composites are becoming more popular due to their lighter weight.
When looking for new boots, you might notice some additional safety features:
- Anti-Static or Electrical Hazard
- Water Resistant or Waterproof
- Penetration Resistant
- Metatarsal Guard
- Chemical Resistant
- Slip & Oil Resistance
Think about what hazards might appear in your job. You don’t need to be a rig worker to need oil-resistant footwear or a dock worker to benefit from Waterproof safety boots. But you do need to be protected no matter what.
Top tip: Don’t stop at toe protection. Look for enhanced safety features to cover all your bases – Water Resistance, Chemical Resistance or Anti-Static, depending on what your job might involve.
Style: Lace Up vs Zip Sided vs Pull On vs Spin-FX™
Most safety boot manufacturers offer a range of boot styles. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, however, Lace Up boots will generally provide better ankle support.
Pull On and Zip Sided boots are easier to get on and off, making them a popular and convenient option. See our Argyle® Zip Scuff or our Hobart Pull On boots.
No matter your requirements, Steel Blue has a fastening technology to suit. You can even opt for an alternative fastening a high-tech fastening system made from aircraft-grade steel such as our Southern Cross Spin-FX™.
Top tip: Choose the boots you’re most comfortable in, but remember, Lace Up boots generally provide the best ankle support on rugged terrain, whilst zips are a great alternative for extra convenience.
Fit: Mid-Cut, Ankle, High Leg or Shoes
Just like the fastening style, safety boots come in a range of fits. Mid-Cut boots like our derby-style Whyalla boot are ideal for Carpenters and Bricklayers who work on their feet but don’t necessarily require the full support of ankle boots.
Of course, there are a few reasons why the majority of Steel Blue safety boots are ankle-high Lace Up boots:
- Ankle support to prevent injury and strain
- Internal tongue padding and collar on all Lace Up boots for comfort
- Laces to adjust tightness
Most workers find ankle boots provide better overall support for long shifts on job sites. Nowadays, they’re also more accepted in offices, with Tradies and managers spending more time behind a desk.
High Leg boots are becoming more popular among men and women working in environments like docks, oil rigs, or underground mine sites. When uneven ground calls for infallible ankle support, higher leg boots are best.
Top tip: Ankle boots remain the most popular style, although some Tradies prefer lower boots and others find high leg protection essential. Choose the right fit for your environment.
Work boots are made to be durable and rugged. But that’s only on the outside; there’s no reason your footwear should be uncomfortable even on the longest days.
Steel Blue boots are crafted from premium cowhide Leather that is ethically and environmentally sourced. The durable, yet supple leather assists with less break-in time, making our work boots comfortable from day one. Our Trisole® Comfort Technology is specially designed to cushion, cradle and support the entire foot from heel to toe.
Make sure you have the option to return your new work boots if they don’t pass muster. Steel Blue boots come with a 30-day 100% Comfort Guarantee because we’re confident you won’t find a more comfortable safety boot out there.
Top tip: Take your new boots for a spin. Get correctly fitted in-store, don’t forget to discuss your job and work environment to find the most suitable Steel Blue style.
Poorly built boots are, at best, a nuisance. But if they start to slip, are ill-fitted or not suitable for the environment, they quickly become a serious safety risk for yourself and others. Choose work boots that are built to last. That means:
- High-quality materials used inside and out
- Upper and outsole bonding meets AS 2210.3 standards
- Lengthy manufacturer’s warranty (Steel Blue boots have a 6-Month Manufacturer’s Warranty)
- Specially designed for your trade rather than generic safety footwear
- Laces, zips or Pull On tabs are durable
Just like your everyday tools, work boots are worth investing a little extra. In the long run, that small outlay means longer life, better protection, and all-day comfort – and can you put a price on that?
Top tip: Look for a manufacturer’s warranty. That’s a sign the safety boot maker is confident their product stands up to Tradies’ tests.
Find your perfect fit at any of the 700+ Steel Blue stockists around Australia
We want you to be confident when you shop for new safety boots. If you commit our top tips to memory, then you’re well on your way to finding the perfect safety boots for your feet – and working environment.
When you visit any Steel Blue stockist, you can try on boots tailor-made for your trade and get advice from a safety footwear specialist.
You can be confident you’re stepping into the right pair of high-quality, locally made Steel Blue work boots with all the safety features you need to get the job done. And our 30-day, 100% Comfort Guarantee and 6-Month Manufacturer’s Warranty are the cherries on top.